cp_dirtbowl is a spammy map. Blue has a large and well known natural advantage. It's rare to see Red win this map. There are only a few ways to win the map(s), but plenty of ways to lose it. In fact it's very easy to lose before the clock even starts ticking. Therefore this guide is here to make sure you DON'T make those crucial early mistakes that force you to waste 15 minutes fruitlessly. Since I haven't done any prep work before on this guide, it's going to turn out different from my other guides. It won't be nearly as in-depth, but certainly more readable. If there's demand to increase the breadth of the guide, I will expand it, but until then this will be a short and hopefully useful guide. All of the below will assume a 7 vs 7, 5 second respawn, official dirtbowl. When considering a 6 vs 6, take away a support class.
Break to the point - How well you can actually get to the point and start capping it Keep the point - How well you can stay on the point and start capping it Assist the point - How well you can keep enemies from the point once you're capping it (without actually capping it; this is an important distinction)
Class Choices Edit
You will NEED 2 Healers
No questions asked. One is simply not enough. He will get destroyed by a random Firebug, or randomly get stabbed, and his team will die because he cannot heal everyone quickly enough. One superburst will not be enough to get you through the game unless you have one hell of a stacked team. One healed Overweight cannot win the game for you no matter how epic pro the Overweight is.
With only one healer, Riflemen will shoot the healer, and the healer's auto-heal is not enough when he's already in the thick of battle. A second shot will essentially disable the healer until he dies for real or he recovers enough health to risk another snipe. A second healer needs to be on hand to heal the healer when he gets sniped. More generally, 2 healers have a lot more survivability together. If one healer does die, your entire push won't fall apart. You can quickly heal your entire army, instead of the lone healer's predicament where he is caught unable to heal everyone so is forced to heal everyone to a half-dead state or heal one person and let the rest die.
TWO SUPERBURSTS. YOU NEED SUPERBURSTS TO WIN THE GAME. GOOD SUPERBURSTING IS ESSENTIAL.
So, if your team has 0 healers, choose healer. If your team has 1 healer, choose healer.
A team can win with 3 healers, but I've found that it's actually less effective. You need 4 assault classes to make 3 healers useful, which rarely happens in game as people are fond of choosing support classes. If you do have 4 assault classes and 2 healers already, a 3rd healer is definitely useful, but only about as useful as any other support class. Diminishing returns. The main problem really is the confusion between healing patients as well as a lack of firepower.
Rocketman is very, very good on dirtbowl. He can break through autogun nests easily, can harass annoying snipers, break through rocketspam nests (if getting healed), stops enemy Overweights, goes even with enemy Detonators (a big plus considering how good Detonators are on defense), breaks sticky traps, and can tank for the healer very well. One should be enough, but if you're faced with a surplus of snipers, autoguns, or overweights, two can work out just as well. They are extremely good at breaking to the point. There are a few problems with this otherwise solid class. Rocketman is horrible with the superburst. More often than not, the healer will get in the way, the rocketman will miss shots, and the entire blue team will run around the rocketman and healer until the burst wears off and chances are you didn't do very much damage. Don't superburst rocketmen, because even the best rocketmen can't use the superburst very well. The other problem is that while they are good at breaking to the point, they are terrible at keeping the point. Stage 2 offers good alternatives for standing on the point in the form of rocketspamming the spawn and assisting the point, but in Stage 1 and 3 they should probably stay on the point despite this short-coming. Another point you should keep in mind is that Rocketman superburst is absolutely atrocious. I cringe whenever I see someone superburst a Rocketman because it is probably the worst superburst you can do next to the sniper.
A good Rocketman can carry a team on dirtbowl and is probably the go-to main patient in the thick of things.
A healed Overweight is pretty hard to kill. He can hold down an area very well and makes it easy for your healers to charge a superburst. He will also keep the point like a champion... a smart overweight can slowly break to the point without superbursting and is probably the safest way to do so. A superbursted overweight can be effective, and while you may not be able to break to the point, you can establish your position much closer to the point and work from there. Overweights aren't good with dealing with rocketspam or autogun nests, though he can prevent them from annihilating his healers. He's also a bit susceptible to getting stabbed, but this only really happens with inattention. Overweights are good at spychecking for their healer so make sure you check frequently for rogue spies. Your main goal is to hold down the point as best you can and take small calculated gambles in advances. Make sure you don't die because frequently you're the one taking the most damage. This means DON'T BREAK THE MEDIBEAM.
Firebug is not the best at breaking to the point nor is he the best at keeping the point. He can keep the point rather well on Stage 1 because of the crate, but falls apart on the other 2 Stages. He can weaken enemy rocketspam, but it's not really a reliable solution. He can advance without a superburst, but he isn't the best option for that. He is good for keeping an area safe like the overweight and stops any random infiltrator from stabbing the healers. He can kind of stop sticky traps, but not really. And of course, he gets molested by riflemen, runners, and detos. He is actually a great choice for killing an enemy healer, so if you see an opportunity to kill the enemy healers, take that opportunity since denying the Blue superburst is one of the most credit to team things you can do as a Firebug. Otherwise, he is mostly at the mercy of the enemy.
When he’s not superbursted that is. A superburst firebug is the most destructive thing in this game and you can frequently push directly to the point and kill 3-4 players along the way. A superbursted firebug should try to deal as much damage to those around him, but continue to move forward and try to break to the point. The team needs to be ready for this and capitalize on the opportunity. Don't dick around, don't spend too much time trying to kill a random runner or infiltrator or whatever, just pretend the superburst hit your noob button. When it wears off though, make sure you won't get the healer killed, but try to be as close to the point as you can. If your team is worth their salt, they have moved up with you and you've essentially broken to the point with a single superburst and the worst class in the game.
Do not wait for the superburst emote to pop up above the healer. The healer could be saving the superburst, so waiting till you see the bubble and then seeing the superburst itself unexpectedly wastes precious seconds. On the other hand, assume the healer has a superburst ready to roll, so if it looks like the healer is going to move forward or is signaling to you somehow, assume he's going to pop one and get ready fast.
Essentially an assault class, they deals with Detonators and enemy bullets much better than the firebug does. The problem is, the bubbles don't work well if you have an overweight or a firebug teammate, and he can't spycheck while keeping a bubbleshield up, so it's an invitation for enemy infiltrators. He can rush in without a superburst pretty well, which is a good plus, but his small stature makes it difficult for him to defend his healer, especially against riflemen. He's very good at assisting the point with the knockback, as well as slowing down any enemy superbursts.
In good faith, I can't really recommend using Quote over any of the other assault classes. If your team has 2 rocketmen, he can be a very good main medibuddy as his small size makes it easier to weave rockets around him, bubbles aren't really damaged by rockets, and 2 rocketmen can break to the point without a superburst if they are decent, leaving Quote or Curly to use the superburst at will. He's also a good choice for any enemy team who is spamming detonators and engineers but not much else. He does have a very good superburst, but it's not nearly as powerful as the firebug's. Try to stay away from Q/C unless you are actually good with them. If you do have a good Quote or Curly on your team, they can prove to be very useful, but it does take a player who is better than the normal.
Runner can do a lot. Just remember you aren't trying to grab the intel, you're trying to cap the point, so you need to attack with that in mind. Runners are really good at keeping infiltrators away from healers, so make sure you spycheck frequently if you play as a runner. Runners are also good at forcing superbursts or straight out killing a healer. The best thing as a runner though is the doubled cap rate, making them INVALUABLE for keeping the point. If at all possible, keep the runner alive if he is helping your team cap the point because the fast cap rate makes it very likely that you can clinch the game there.
The main problem with runners is that they flat out suck against autoguns and riflemen. If you're facing an enemy team that have both in abundance, being a runner is a waste of time. A runner superburst is great, but not so much on dirtbowl since they can just respawn and runner + healer is not good at holding their ground. Also, they are mostly a waste of space on Stage 2 unless they are keeping the point.
I list detonators as a support class for three reasons. One, they just aren't bulky enough to take many hits even with a healer attached to them. Two, they can only control a small amount of active space, meaning they can't engage several targets at once, unlike the Rocketman who is much better against groups of enemies. Three, deto superburst is pretty bad. That being said, detonators are wonderfully good on offense. They can deny enemy's crates, they can destroy certain autoguns with impunity (autoguns that a deto can reach a rocketman might not easily get, and vice versa, making them a good complement to each other), they can stop rocketspam cold, they can break sticky traps, can safely break to the point and keep the point, and are just flat out a good class. You can pretty much consider them an assault class, just not a replacement for overweight/rocketman/firebug/Q.
His superburst is mostly bad in many situations. However, there are certain maps which are good superbursts for the detonator. Those will be noted below in the Stage sections.
Watch out for riflemen, however. 2 shots will easily take you down and you can't do anything about it. On a note, detonators are also very good for charging a superburst. They can self-explode during downtimes, giving you a consistent doubled superburst rate, and it's far more efficient and elegant then a rocketman exploding himself.
Constructors are useful for locking down an area, making it very easy for your own healers to charge the superburst. Plopping the autogun in a more useful location takes time to regenerate the metal and actually using it, and you are nowhere near as good at breaking to the point as an overweight, sort of limiting your role. On the plus side, you don't really need healer support to establish position, making you more independent then the overweight (but not making you better). They work best on Stage 3, the only dirtbowl stage with an actual alternate route, and can lock down the entire area below the point.
Constructor superburst is laughable. However, constructors are paralleled to none in assisting the point. The autogun can very easily spawn camp in Stage 2, or even just protect the point itself in Stage 1 (from rocketspammers who drop down from over top) or Stage 3 (from everyone who drops down from up top), buying extremely precious time and making it difficult for the common 5-man firebug rush defense to otherwise succeed. They are extremely powerful on Stage 2, as certain autogun locations are impossible to destroy with impunity.
Riflemen is probably the most used support class on dirtbowl offense, and most likely the most useful. Sniping enemy riflemen is incredibly important on Stage 1 and 3, and a rifleman will have plenty of targets to choose from. If you aren't sniping enemy riflemen, snipe healers, or any weakened targets. If there are none of those, just shoot whatever is in range. Offensive rifleman is preferred, since you will act as a meatshield for the healer and easy access to heals.
Only ONE rifleman is really necessary, unless Blue is using 3 or more riflemen. The max at any time should be 2, and only if you are fighting a horde of enemy snipers. Even so, one rifleman plus a healer invested in that rifleman's health should be good enough for these situations. Riflemen are very good for breaking to a point, but very, very bad at keeping the point and assisting the point. Unfortunately, the rifleman has no real recourse for standing on the point on Stage 1 and 2. The exception is Stage 3, where the rifleman becomes the best class for assisting the point and the only option to deal with enemy riflemen standing up top.
Revolver is best used to finish off a target or deal damage and getting away. It has no place on an offensive push with healers on both sides. Going for a stab is ridiculous and you will fail a lot even if you set up the stab perfectly. At least other classes bring something to the table. Even the best infiltrator will not win you the game. They are terrible at breaking to the point, keeping the point, and assisting the point. Revolver spam only becomes a viable damage tool with more than one infiltrator, and if your offense has two infiltrators, you pretty much have no chance of winning the game. Especially annoying is the infiltrator who thinks stabbing autoguns is a good idea. It isn't. You will die and the constructor will dance on your body and then build another autogun.
Do not play infiltrator on dirtbowl offense, for the love of god. Even if you are the best infiltrator in the universe, don't fucking play him on offense and choose another class instead. It doesn't matter how good you are at facestabs, or how good you are at revolver spam, or how old your forum account is, or how long you've been playing the game, or how cool infiltrator is, infiltrator on offense is a bad, BAD idea.
Seriously, do not fall for the temptation to play infiltrator. Staying invisible forever does nothing to help your team, nothing. Revolver spam does nothing either, nothing. Stabbing camping enemy riflemen does nothing, nothing.
Note: Don't use Infiltrators on the Offensive Team. If you still insist on playing Infiltrator the only thing you're going to be useful for is stabbing the enemy Healer, Rifleman, or Autogun.
This is the only way you're going to win; superbursts.
SUPERBURSTS CHARGES UP DOUBLE SPEED WHEN HEALING BADLY HURT TEAMMATES (TO BE PRECISE TEAMMATES WITH LESS THAN HALF THEIR MAX HEALTH), THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOU WANT A SUPERBURST EVERY 30 SECONDS OR SO, THE FASTEST YOU CAN GET IT
Superbursts are popped for a few reasons, here in order of importance
- Break to the point
- Keep the point
- In response to an enemy superburst
- Avoid dying
The first reason is the most obvious reason, so I don't really need to explain this. Pop it, kill everyone in front of you, move up to the point.
The third reason is painful, because in one sense it's for the same reason as 4, and it doesn't do anything more than keep the status quo. That being said, pay attention to what kind of superburst they popped. If they superbursted an Overweight or Rocketman or something like that, you can safely get away without using the superburst, and maybe even superburst when their burst is finished. If it's a superburst specifically designed to kill you and the other healer, you have no choice but to pop it. Try to pop it absolutely as late as you can so you can avoid popping it when the other healer does (if they have one). Really, this is a judgment call.
The second reason is actually a missing variable in a lot of dirtbowl matches. 9 times out of 10, you need a second superburst to not only break to the point, but survive on the point as well. At this stage, it's imperative to keep everyone alive, so a lot of this will depend on how good you are at medibeam targeting in the middle of crowds (especially if there is a firebug in your midst). Don't use the superburst unless you are about to get stabbed (if you are on the point, expect the infiltrator running into the fray and about the stab), or you have a horde of enemies descend upon your location. In any case, if you superburst properly, and if your team is decent or is made up of overweights, this can often clinch the game.
The last reason should never happen, because that means you didn't retreat early enough or you got outplayed. Watch for infiltrators, watch the situation with your allies, and retreat early if necessary. Your superburst is worth the lives of every single one of your teammates barring the other healer. That being said, if you happen to see an infiltrator about to stab you and no way to dodge it, or you just cannot run from those 2 firebugs, pop it, but I can't agree with popping the superburst just to keep you and one other guy alive.
Getting superbursts is also important. Don't constantly heal full-health players if there is downtime. Heal the badly injured or on-fire players first, then heal any supports or weakened assaults, then heal the guy taking all the damage. Let the main damage sponge take some damage while healing the supports or other assaults, then get back to healing him. Most of this isn't on the healer's hands, it's on the other players hands. If you're full health, engage the enemy, and retreat when dangerously low on health. Cycle the frontline with healthy players and substitute for hurt players. THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS HOG THE HEALER AND THEREFORE LEAVE HIM UNABLE TO HEAL ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT JEOPARDIZING YOU.
If you have 2 Healers working, you can leave one to mostly heal the frontline and the other to heal those switching out of the frontline. In this situation the team should play riskier, actually fishing out for damage and then retreating to give the healers a faster superburst. Or, you can both heal a single medibuddy and heal the others only during downtimes while your medibuddies take epic damage. In any case, a hurt teammate is almost a dead teammate, but also a useful commodity for the healers.
If you do this right and if you pay attention to the other healer and alternate with him, you can knock out a superburst once every 20 seconds or so, each one lasting for 8 seconds.
REMEMBER THIS IMPORTANT POINT, AND ONE OF THE REASONS WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO POP TWO BURSTS AT ONCE. Superbursts do NOT absorb bullets, and you can't really pull off multi-teammate invincibility like in TF2, so one healer will be unable to heal the bullet damage. The other healer needs to keep the rest of the team alive while one healer breaks to the point.
Prerequisites for WinningEdit
The main prerequisite is two good healers. Two GOOD healers, who won't die from rifleman shots or stabs and know when to pop the superburst and efficiently heal and can potentially live for an entire round. You can win with one healer, but you're not going to win with one healer, so take the contradiction as a warning if you don't feel like wasting 15 minutes wondering why one healer isn't winning dirtbowl games.
The next prerequisite is a decent team. By decent, I mean a few players who pick and know how to play any of the assault classes listed. They are the ones who will break to the point, they are the ones can keep the point, and god forbid your team actually goes on the point and you can actually heal the burning masses of flesh and superburst when spam descends upon you, they are the ones who can lead you to victory. Everyone should know their role on dirtbowl offense as per my class strategies listed above (I've seen plenty of games where otherwise terrible teammates shape up during dirtbowl and make a real offensive. They often lack the skill required to keep the point until the win, but knowing how to play the map is 50% of the work).
Best is a team that understands that support classes are SECONDARY to assault classes. I'd much rather see three Players use Overweight, Firebug, and Rocketman and play the class even if they are totally horrible then three forumgoers who give up after two minutes and choose rifleman and infiltrator.
Beyond all that obvious stuff, once you're ON the point, here's a list of prerequisites required to keep the point and ultimately win.
- At least one superburst is ready to deploy.
- Capping at 4+ rate.
- Most of the team is alive.
- Most of the enemy team is respawning.
- There is at least one person assisting the point to prevent enemies from spamming onto the point uncontested. (If not, then you best hope the entire team is capping at 6+)
- The team has enough firepower to stop firebug rushes, q/c rushes, overweight rushes, detonator spam, building autoguns, and stop any infiltrator from even getting close.
- The enemy does not have a superburst firebug ready. (A good healer can counter this with superburst and healing to wipe out any flames, greatly limiting the damage)
- The team has an appropriate set-up for the specific stage (discussed later below)
If even one of the criterion is not met, you stand a good chance of getting wiped out on the point and having to start over from the beginning. If most of the criteria is not met, then the healers keeping the point should probably get out while they can since you won't be able to cap.
This is the basics you need to do during the 60 seconds of Setup Time
IF YOU HAVE NO HEALERS ON YOUR TEAM, SWITCH TO HEALER.
- Healers- Start healing someone immediately. If a detonator/rocketman is exploding themself, heal them. Superburst take somewhere around 60 seconds to charge and you want a superburst out the gate. Healing an exploding person will take that down to 30 seconds, and if you joined late and only have 40 seconds on the clock you still need a superburst out the gate or be very close to it.
- Detonators - Explode yourself for a healer to be exploded. Hold right click and watch your health. When it goes above 50, press left-click and explode yourself for 50 damage. This makes detonators a lot faster than rocketman, who need to go all the way down to 87 health before the double heal rate kicks in. This is applicable outside the setup gate too, so a healer who isn't in danger can heal you for a really fast superburst. If two healers are healing you, you can hold down left click and right click safely since the healing will bring you to 60 health by the time you can detonate.
- Rocketmen - Same deal as detonator. You can also explode any stickies that happen to be too close to your spawn gates.
- Riflemen - Scope and check out what classes they are using. Check for autoguns you can see or other locations of interest.
- Firebugs - Reflect any rocketspam coming at the gates. Also reflect any stickies if you can.
- Constructors - Plop down a sentry and refresh your metal to 100 if applicable
- Infiltrators - Switch to a different class.
Some odds and ends: the setup gate doesn't actually open when the setup timer hits 0:00, it opens when the real timer starts at 14:59 or the start of the pre-determined time limit. So it opens a second later; don't pop your superburst prematurely and waste precious time.
Capturing the PointsEdit
- Main article: Cp_dirtbowl/Offense/Capturing_the_Points
While the same strategy generally applies to all of the points in the Cp_dirtbowl map, some different strategies are needed for each point.